Wild, Barnabas (1831-1914)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1881
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1914

Early years

Barnabas was born on 18 June 1831 at Rochdale, Lancashire to parents Joseph and Rachel. Joseph was a cotton weaver. When Barnabas was an infant the family moved to Summit, nr Todmorden. His father was a Wesleyan local preacher of good standing.

Barnabas started work at the age of nine. His obituary records that he grew up ‘wild’, although this was mainly boyish mischief. He yielded himself to Christ one evening at Knowlwood and went on the plan in 1849. On his first Sunday, he preached twice, led two classes, got drenched, and skinned his heel with an 18 mile walk.

The 1851 census describes Barnabas as a hand-loom cotton weaver. He could not succeed in any employment he undertook until he opened a day school and had more pupils than he could manage. One Sunday evening, Rev George Herod told him he was to go to Carlisle in a fortnight as second preacher. After much prayer he obeyed the call.


Kendall writes that Barnabas was long esteemed in the Sunderland District as a solid preacher and an up-builder of the churches.

Following the death of his wife and her sister within a few days of each other, Barnabas had a breakdown. It was only after his marriage to Hannah that he was able to resume his ministry.

The Tranent PM Chapel, built in 1870, contained a monument commemorating the ministry of Barnabas.

His obituary records that he was one of the best type of men who made our church in the latter half of the last century. He was a far abler man than he ever got credit for, but he never could put all his goods in the window. Then he was retiring and diffident. But how true and good he was! How devoted and chivalrous! His grand sermons were attended by extraordinary unction, and multitudes will be the crown of his rejoicing.


Barnabas married Elizabeth Whitfield (1832-1887) in the summer of 1859 at Haltwhistle, Northumberland.

Barnabas married Hannah Pearson (b abt 1862) in 1890 at Teesdale, Co Durham. Census returns identify one child.

  • Betsy Jane (1891-1950) – married John Spoor, a PM minister

Barnabas died on 10 August 1914 at Tranent, East Lothian.


  • 1853 Carlisle
  • 1854 Allendale
  • 1856 Hexham
  • 1859 Guisborough
  • 1861 Durham
  • 1863 Berwick
  • 1865 Alston
  • 1867 Allendale
  • 1869 Barnard castle
  • 1874 Stokesley
  • 1876 Hexham
  • 1878 Alston
  • 1881 Brompton
  • 1890 Northallerton
  • 1891 Bradford ll
  • 1893 Richmond
  • 1896 Tranent
  • 1899 Tranent (S)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1881 (portrait); 1914/909

PM Minutes 1915/52

H B Kendall, Origin and History of the PM Church, vol 2, p47

W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


Comments about this page

  • Barnabas, aged 59, and Hannah, aged 27, were living next door to my paternal grandmother’s father Riley Harrison, aged 32, a worsted piece inspector, and his wife Rebecca, in Crossley Street, Horton Ward, Bradford in 1891.

    In 1851, my paternal grandfather’s paternal grandfather, aged 22, was living next door to William Chubb, aged 42, another Primitive Methodist minister (https://www.myprimitivemethodists.org.uk/content/people-2/primitive_methodist_ministers/c-2/william-chubb) in Albert Street, Halifax.

    My paternal grandparents were married in the Primitive Methodist School Chapel in All Saints Road, Bradford in 1920. I was once told that my grandfather went to a Primitive Methodist Sunday School as a child, but neither of my grandparents followed the Lord in an outward way.

    My father was an atheist until almost the end of his life, and I am the first on either side to become a Christian believer for probably three generations. But perhaps the prayers and the lives of these godly men of God and their families made a difference somewhere along the line, by the grace and goodness of our loving God.

    By Andrew Chapman (02/09/2020)

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